What are the Christmas trends of New Zealand?
Ah, spending Christmas on holiday. Even more exciting than running downstairs in your pyjamas (with or without an ...KEEP READING
There’s a pretty good chance you’ve heard of the Florida Keys before. There’s also a chance you may not be totally sure what they are and why they need to go on your travel bucket-list, pronto! The Keys aren’t one of DJ Khaled’s tools to success, they’re an 180-kilometre long chain of stunning islands that begin at the bottom of Florida’s mainland on the south-east coast of the United States. The Keys offer a tropical escape from the everyday life on the mainland, which is why you’ll find them a haven to an eclectic world of wonderfully weird people, places, food, and culture. Famed for incredible diving and snorkelling, hammocks and beach bars, pastel houses, and golden sunsets, this all the inspiration you need to visit the Florida Keys on your trip to the United States.
You’ll find Key West at the southern end of the Keys, 90 minutes from Cuba. With its own airport, it’s easy to fly in, set yourself up at a 5-star resort then get busy exploring. Key West is an eclectic hub, where Caribbean Villas and fancy restaurants rub shoulders with the youth and vibrance of University students on holidays. Spend days discovering the weird and wonderful in this non-conformist town or hit the water for dolphin watching, snorkelling, parasailing or even a sunset sailing adventure. Grab a bite at Mo’s Restaurant or fan-favourite Salsa Loca and be sure to grab a few drinks at the Green Parrot and Irish Kevin’s.
Located in the middle of the Keys and home to the second airport, Marathon provides visitors with an idyllic backdrop for a tropical island escape. Visit the Dolphin Research Centre and Turtle Hospital then spend a day at the famous Sombrero Beach. Take a drive out to the Seven Mile Bridge, a great spot for photography lovers, then work your way through the list of stunning waterfront restaurants and places like TJ’s Tiki Bar, Dion’s, The Hurricane and Butterfly Cafe. Seafood Festivals pop up regularly throughout the year and if those don’t take your fancy, just set up residence in a beachside hammock and watch the world go by.
If you love scuba diving you’ll need to take at trip to the largest Key, Key Largo. It’s home to country and state parks, like the Everglades National Park, and offers some incredible offshore and back country fishing. This is the spot to take day trips out to the reefs and wrecks, which can also be explored on a glass bottom boat. Spend your holiday on sunset cruises with cold cocktails, dine overlooking the water and soak in the gorgeous sunshine on picture-perfect beaches. Be sure to grab a drink at Alabama Jack’s, eat at Mrs Mac’s Kitchen and take a trip to the famous Blond Giraffe Key Lime Pie Factory.
Referred to as the Purple Isle, Islamorada plays home to art galleries, quaint shops and 5-star resorts intermingled with low-key accommodation. Made up of six islands, Islamorada is known for its top-notch sports fishing, so rent a boat or get yourself on a guided tour to fish, snorkel or swim. You can also get your dose of culture at the fine art and music scenes in the area, like the Morada Way Art and Culture District. Grab a frozen cocktail, complete with tiny umbrella at one of the local tropical-themed bars and lose track of time. Dine at Bayside Gourmet and Mangrove Mike’s Cafe then grab drinks at Jaws Raw Bar for beachfront cool!
To get back to nature and find a slower pace of life, visit Big Pine Key and the Lower Keys. You’ll find this place perfect for riding bikes through Key Deer Country and learning about the endangered Key Deer. Discover quaint B&Bs and vacation homes set among idyllic spots with strange names, like Little Torch Key, Sugarloaf Key and Big Coppitt Key. If all this wasn’t enough, the Bahia Honda State Park has made the list of the top 10 beaches in the States thanks to its perfect white sand and clear water. Grab a bite at The Galley Grill and the Sugarloaf Food Company and get drinks at The Wharf Bar and Grill.